Slovak Republic country brief

Overview

The Slovak Republic was formed on 1 January 1993 after the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic split on 31 December 1992. Also known as Slovakia, it borders the Czech Republic, Poland, Ukraine, Hungary and Austria, and covers an area of 49,039 square kilometres, much of which is mountainous. The population is 5.4 million (2016). The Slovak Republic celebrates its National Day (Constitution Day) on 1 September. The capital is Bratislava.

Political overview

The Slovak Republic is a parliamentary republic with legislative power vested in a unicameral parliament (the National Council), which holds responsibility for most areas of government policy. The National Council is made up of 150 deputies elected for four-year terms. The head of government is the Prime Minister, who is appointed by the President and is accountable solely to the National Council.

The current Prime Minister, Mr Peter Pellegrini, took office on 22 March 2018. The SMER (Direction Social Democracy) Party holds the most seats in the parliament but does not hold a majority. It is currently in coalition with the Slovak National Party (SNS), and the Most-Hid party.

The President of Slovakia is H.E. Mr Andrej Kiska, elected on 15 March 2014 by direct popular vote. While the President’s powers are largely representational and ceremonial, the office also holds some important legal powers, including appointing the Prime Minister and the ability to veto legislation.

The Slovak Republic is a member of a number of international organisations, including the OECD, NATO , the European Union, the United Nations, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the World Trade Organisation, and the Schengan Zone. The Slovak Republic is also a member of the Visegrad Four, along with Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary.

Economic overview

The Slovak Republic has a strong export orientation, driven by automobile and electronics exports. It introduced the Euro in January 2009. Its principal export destination is Germany (22 per cent), followed by the Czech Republic (11.8 per cent) and Poland (7.6 per cent). GDP growth in 2017 was 3.3 per cent.

Bilateral relationship

Australia and the Slovak Republic established diplomatic relations upon the formation of the Slovak Republic in 1993. Joint agreements between Australia and the Slovak Republic include a work and holiday visa agreement (May 2015), a social security agreement (January 2012), and a Double Taxation Agreement. Slovak and Australian soldiers were stationed together in Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan, during the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) that ran from 2001-2014. Both countries are participating in the current Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan.

In the 2016 Census, over 11,000 people identified as having Slovak heritage. The first naturalised Australian citizen was of Slovak heritage, Mr Jan Jandura Pucek, in Canberra on 3 February 1949. Since 1988, Gosford in New South Wales has had a sister city relationship with the historic city of Nitra.

Responsibility for diplomatic relations with the Slovak Republic rests with the Australian Embassy in Vienna. Australia’s Austrade office in Prague is responsible for trade links. The Slovak Republic maintains an Embassy in Canberra and has Honorary Consulates in Brisbane and Sydney.

High level visits

Then Slovak Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Mr Miroslav Lajčák, visited Australia with a small business mission in May 2015. This visit reciprocated the June 2013 visit of the then Governor-General, Her Excellency the Honourable Quentin Bryce AC CVO, to Slovakia. The then-Slovak State Secretary of the Ministry of Defence, Mr Miloš Koterec, visited Australia in May 2012. Former Slovak Foreign Minister, Mr Ján Kubiš, visited Australia in October 2008.

The then Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for Central Europe, the Balkans and the Caucasus, Dr Russell Trood, visited Bratislava in March. The then Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon Stephen Smith, visited the Slovak Republic on 16 February 2010.

Bilateral economic and trade relationship

Two-way merchandise trade in 2016-17 was $346 million, strongly in the Slovak Republic’s favour: $339 million of exports from the Slovak Republic versus $6.8 million of exports from Australia. Passenger motor vehicles comprise the bulk of Slovakia’s exports to Australia: $224 million. Australian exports to the Slovak Republic comprised mainly leather ($4.9 million), electrical machinery and part; aircraft, spacecraft and parts, textiles and leather machinery.

Australia has $28 million of investments in the Slovak Republic.

For information on doing business in the Slovak Republic, please contact Austrade or visit www.austrade.gov.au.

Updated: May 2018

Last Updated: 14 May 2014